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March 15, 2012

Citizens Edition of “The Idea of America” Digital History and Civics Program Now Available

A citizens edition of Colonial Williamsburg’s interactive, fully digital, Web-based program “The Idea of America” is now available for those who want to explore the history they may have missed in high school or want to be better informed on the principles that still guide our republic today. “The Idea of America Citizens Edition” enables participants to look at history in a new way – by exploring key American values presented in 65 individual case studies of the nation’s most important historical events, debating issues that shaped America.

“Since the introduction of ‘The Idea of America’ curriculum for high school students in 2010, we have received numerous requests from our friends and supporters who have an enduring interest in our nation’s history to create a version of the program for those who are no longer in the classroom.” said Colin Campbell, Colonial Williamsburg president and CEO. “Because we feel strongly that citizens of any age will benefit from a refresher course in America’s founding democratic principles, we decided to offer this public edition of our most ambitious educational outreach initiative to date, linking the founding principles established here in Williamsburg to critical moments across American history.”

Four pairs of contrasting American values – unity and diversity, private wealth and common wealth, law and ethics, and freedom and equality – are presented to guide the discussion of each case study. Users can create a journal or blog entry and may also join a discussion on, Colonial Williamsburg’s website that facilitates discussion about issues that are important to American citizens.

The citizens version of “The Idea of America” differs from the classroom version in that there is no teacher guide or interactive connection between teachers and students or between classrooms – and there are no grades! The case studies cover American history from 1607 to the present day and include video introductions, historical photos and video footage, eyewitness accounts and interviews, glossaries and games. In addition, primary sources of enduring significance such as newspapers, works of art, diaries, journal entries, speeches and wills also are included in the curriculum. Users may purchase an annual subscription for the entire set of 65 case studies for $99, or individual case studies for $5 each.

For a description of all 65 case studies or to purchase a subscription to The Idea of America Citizens Edition, visit or

Established in 1926, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit center for history, citizenship and democracy, encouraging audiences at home and around the world to learn from the past. Colonial Williamsburg demonstrates its commitment to expanding its thought-provoking programming as well as its dedication to cultural and historical authenticity on-site and online through the preservation, restoration and presentation of 18th-centry Williamsburg and the study, interpretation and teaching of America’s founding principles. Purchase of Colonial Williamsburg products and services supports the preservation, research and educational programs of the Foundation. Philanthropic support by individuals, corporations, and foundations benefits the educational mission of The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington, D.C., off Interstate 64. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s website at

Media Contact:
Barbara Brown
(757) 220-7280